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Author Topic: How rapidly does a Higgs Boson decay?  (Read 2372 times)

Offline eyedoctor

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How rapidly does a Higgs Boson decay?
« on: 29/11/2008 16:13:14 »
I have read that the Higgs Boson that CERN is looking for decays too rapidly for detection with normal sensors.  I am not a particle physicist, so the question might be naive, but what sort of time does "instantaneous decay" mean in the subatomic scale?  What is the lowest level of detection time?

[mod edit - please format subject headings as a question, which has been proven to increase response rates to your posts*

* - based on an internal NS audit on 1000 forum posts carried out by Chris Smith in 2008.]
« Last Edit: 05/12/2008 08:31:37 by chris »


 

Online syhprum

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Re: How rapidly does a Higgs Boson decay?
« Reply #1 on: 29/11/2008 17:20:43 »
Many newly created particles travelling at the speed of light only get a millimeter or so before they decay but their decay products have a longer life and they can be virtually reconstructed in the computer.
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Re: How rapidly does a Higgs Boson decay?
« Reply #2 on: 02/12/2008 19:42:32 »
Particles with much shorter lifetimes can be detected and measured in high energy physics experiments.  The distances these particles travel before they decay can be as short as the distance across a nucleus and the half lifetime about 10 e -25 of a second.  The way this is done is to measure the mass of the particle as accurately as possible in many experiments and use the uncertainty principle.  A short lived particle has a more variable mass than one that lasts for longer and produces a broad mass spectrum.

Sometimes these very short lived particles are described as resonances rather than individual particles.

Measuring the mass and energy of the particles is beyond a simple answer in a single question and needs a full understanding of the way high energy physics experimentation is carried out.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: How rapidly does a Higgs Boson decay?
« Reply #3 on: 04/12/2008 14:09:46 »
Ian - don't they also look for missing energy?
 

Offline Soul Surfer

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Re: How rapidly does a Higgs Boson decay?
« Reply #4 on: 04/12/2008 23:14:34 »
Yes of course but the chain of measurements can be quite complex.  Its a lot better than when I was a student when you could earn a bit of cash in the physics department by sganning thousands of photographs for particular events.
 

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Re: How rapidly does a Higgs Boson decay?
« Reply #4 on: 04/12/2008 23:14:34 »

 

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